Let’s parse “Danger on the Dirt,” the latest broadside (that’s right: broadside) in the PBR campaign to equate JB Mauney with God, or at least, “The Face of the PBR.” The PBR is making an all-out push to convince newcomers to the sport that there is One God, and his name is JB Mauney. He can do no wrong, and his rides are almost always scored in the 90s—not that they all deserved those scores, mind you—so he is now automatically guaranteed to win as much as possible. Jared Allen spells it out for us: “Hands down, he’s the absolute face of the PBR.” PBR has achieved its goal.
They flat out ignored three-time World Champion (some say four) Silvano Alves, and deliberately chose to minimize the contributions Brazilian riders have made to the sport—all in the service of whitewashing bullriding.
Let’s call it “whitewashing,” because that’s it, really: put a white face on it and ignore those annoying people of all different shades and accents, because they can’t possibly represent the sport. They’re great riders, polite to all, family men, with a strong belief in God, and gratitude for being able to compete in the U.S. arena—but let’s disrespect them and their American dream, shove them into the background, and instead worship the guy who cheated on his fiancée, fathered a child, took the child away from its mother, married the fiancée (who was gracious enough to take the child along with the guy), then cheated on the wife, who seems to have vanished into thin air, instead of supposedly being the reason he succeeds. This is the first time I’ve ever commented on JB’s private life, that’s how mad I am, and it will be the last. Even y’all who worship the guy can’t say I’m lying, ‘cause I’m just stating the facts that you know as well as I do. He’s still a great rider, but as for that “all-American” shit: well, you can just hang it up, ‘cause even your own rule book, the Bible, doesn’t accommodate that kinda behavior, does it? So stop canonizing the guy.
The opening montage of high-adrenaline moments featured almost exclusively bad moments. And then there were the guys cataloguing their injuries. I still think people come to see rides more than wrecks. Maybe being put together so many times with metal and plastic and tape gave rise to Shane Proctor’s opening remark that “They want to see you get wrecked out.” Otherwise he’d have to think, Am I being a masochist?
How much air time did any Brazilian rider get (no pun intended)? About 20 seconds: A clip of Air Time’s first out when he scored a 47 and Renato Nunes came down on him head to head, a clip of Renato riding him for 92.50 in Phoenix, March 2014, and a quickie interview clip of Renato saying, “There’s no way to correct,” and a few more words, plus the scene of Robson Palermo spraining his neck—which at the time looked like a broken neck.
“There’s no referees.” – J.W. Harris. I love this guy.
“They can kill you on accident.” –Ty Murray, who still hasn’t got the hang of prepositions.
Bolton talking to himself before he gets ready to strap on: “You got to take it to this sucker.”
“I can always lay behind the bucking chutes, I don’t have to do it in the arena.”—JB Mauney
“They’re like the Secret Service.” –JB re bullfighters (which, you realize, makes him not only God and Superman, but also the President.)
THE USUAL CRAP
- “When the lights are shining the brightest” horseshit we’ve heard forever about JB.
- That phony bass voice that’s supposed to make us think He-Man. Who invented that shtick, anyway?
- Why on earth did they spend so much time on Reese Cates and Bonner Bolton? Oh, right: let’s talk about the young white guys instead of the young Brazilian guys who kick their asses. No offense Reese and Bonner, but I think you know what I mean. The record speaks for itself.
- Same clips we’ve seen before, trotted out for the network audience.
- Guts, toughness, try, wanting to slay dragons, etc. – Ty blabbing on about J.B. Of course none of the other riders in the history of the world in the PBR or anywhere else ever have any of those traits.
- “You play the game, you take the pain.” Making a BFD about JB taking a reride 5 minutes after rough treatment by a bull. Marchi and Palermo have both done it.
- A great shot of other riders standing along the chute rail screaming as JB rides. Douglas Duncan was particularly thrilled.
- Nathan Schaper riding air Time.
- Renato’s 92.50 ride on Air time—and the backflip that I’ll miss.
- Cute vignette of JB & JW heading down the corridor together after JB’s painful buckoff.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
- Jared Allen’s segments. He knows what he’s talking about, and his enthusiasm is contagious. I’ll betcha he gets his boots dirty.
- Finally! Someone needs to get credit for saying guys climb on an 1800-pound bull instead of a 2,000-pound bull. It sounds so great to say 2,000, impresses the new viewers, but the fact is that when the PBR doesn’t know what a bull weighs, it puts 1500 on the website listing. I would assume that’s the average weight, wouldn’t you? I don’t think it’s random. There are some bulls who obviously do weigh more than 1800, and Mississippi Hippy is the giant of ‘em all, at 2300 lbs. (or at least that’s the most frequently cited number).
- Tandy in action, talking to the guys like a Dad, “helping them manage that decision-making process.”
- The Byrne Family segment. Jesse did one of his classic saves, climbing halfway onto the bull’s back. Shorty’s comment: “You coulda rode him.” “When you can look out and see that the person who’s gonna protect you is your brother, it doesn’t get much better than that.”–Tanner. “Once he climbs into the chute, that’s his space. Once the gate cracks I just cheer as loud as I can.”– Papa Ryan. “There’s no whistles to stop the play; there’s no timeouts.” –also from Ryan B. “One day you can be on top, and one day you can be face first in the dirt.” – Tanner. That clip always makes me tear up.
- The Ariat ad that was straight out of the 1950s, down to the visible seam running down the tape. What were they thinking? Or drinking? Hilarious copy, too – will the boots help the guy win the Finals?
- That stupid trapeze descent of JB from the heavens. He has no shame.
- Did they have John Williams write the music to accompany JB walking in slow motion? (Look him up, kids.)
- Neil Holmes’s horrible injury; bloody around the head, struggling to get up when they’re telling him to stay down.
- “A 2nd gold buckle could put him among bull riding’s best ever,” says The Bummer about JB. And what are we saying about Silvano’s 3rd gold buckle? Nothing. “Winning a 2nd world title can place your name alongside the legends of the sport.” And not one mention of Alves.
Air Time handler Matt Scharping’s segments.
I’M JUST SAYIN’
- This heartthrob stuff about Bonner Bolton is embarrassing.
- The narrative trying to make it sound as if JB is the only one who rides with injuries was cleverly juxtaposed against Bolton deciding to take time out to protect his knee rather than be out of action for months. When certain other riders make that decision, there are a lot of snotty comments to the effect of, They’re not tough.
- Anyone who didn’t know the sport would believe everything the scriptwriters belched out.